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President George W. Bush left a complex tech legacy through a multitude of legislation and policies. Among the changes he supported were expanded government, cuts to online privacy, increased military tech spending, and support for the automotive and alternative energy industries.
Bush created a tech legacy filled with good and bad

In the words of President George W. Bush, "Is our children learning?"

If by "child" he was referring to the government's tech efforts, the answer would be yes.  However, what it has learned, what changes and policies have been implemented during President Bush's administration are a complex and lengthy topic to consider as President-elect Barack Obama prepares to take office.

Some of the changes were superficial.  The Whitehouse.gov got a makeover and relaunch this week.  Some of the recent tech legislative provisions passed through were considered somewhat trivial.

However, other changes were big.  President Bush's use of warrantless wiretaps and push for immunity for cooperating telecoms struck many as government playing big brother.  Law enforcement without regulation or responsibility, they argue could quickly go astray.  Vice President Dick Cheney and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales were among Bush's close allies to take the opposite stance, arguing the executive had the power to enforce laws without the necessity of regulation at times.  Mr. Gonzales stated, "The president has the inherent authority under the Constitution, as commander-in-chief, to engage in this kind of activity."

President Bush also tried to push through legislation which would provide the beginnings of a renewed focus on cybersecurity.  While recent war games have shown the country woefully prepared for an organized cyber assault, progress was made in this arena.

Bush showed support for copyright protection efforts.  Under his administration, the RIAA was encouraged to carry out its aggressive campaign, which generated much public attention, but ultimately failed to curb piracy.

On other subjects, though President Bush voiced its opinion, but deferred to Congress.  President Bush opposed auctioning the wireless spectrum, but he allowed the Federal Communications Commission Chief, Kevin Martin, whom he appointed, to proceed with an auction anyway.  Bush also opposed legislating net neutrality, but again Mr. Martin sided against his boss and pushed through changes.

President Bush will also be remembered for his bailout of the automotive industry, an integral part of the U.S. tech industry.  Some point out that with this bailout and others, combined with the government takeover of Fannie and Freddie May, Bush brought elements of mild socialism to the U.S. 

President Bush also sided with bipartisan efforts in Congress to sign into law new fuel economy standards and provide tax incentives to alternative energy firms.  And he set the nation's sights on the Moon, encouraging NASA to undertake the ambitious Ares program to return to the moon.  Under Bush's presidency the internet was also kept tax free on a federal level.

Ultimately the only broad conclusion one can draw from President Bush's tech legacy is that it is complex and likely a sign of things to come.  With President-elect Barack Obama set to take office and push an ambitious new tech-oriented agenda, the torch has been passed, and it appears that the government's tech efforts will only grow.  Whether this will entail a continuation of President Bush's championed expanded role of government, or a more regulation laissez-faire, but financially supportive approach to the tech industry, though remains to be seen.



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RE: Good lord, Jason
By smitty3268 on 1/21/2009 2:30:03 AM , Rating: 2
Sure, the wiretap stuff was a stretch. But it actually makes a little bit of sense if you think about tech policy from a governmental policy/legal standpoint and not from a tech enthusiast standpoint.

More to the point, try reading that part about the wiretaps again. I count 2 sentences saying it was controversial, and another 2 saying that prominent officials were supportive of it and didn't see anything wrong with it. I didn't get even a whiff of trying to make an argument there, just bringing up what was obviously a major part of Bush's legacy.

I get the feeling people are reading stuff into what was written here, that wasn't actually said. Because Jason has been critical of the policy in the past, there is an automatic assumption that by bringing it up here there was more of the same, but I just don't see it.

quote:
Something no one here has mentioned is how much Bush expanded NASA's budget (and he tried to expand it a lot more, but Congress blocked it.

Color me unimpressed. Sure, Bush tried to turn around NASA. But I'm still not convinced that he actually succeeded. Maybe in 20 years this view will be vindicated, but I think it's a little early to call this part of his "legacy". Still, I'll grant you it probably belongs there as much as the wiretaps stuff does.


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